Fruit Trees That Grow in the North
Several members of the Rose family of plants are fruit trees that grow in the northern United States. These fruit trees include many kinds of hawthorn trees, as well as crabapple trees, cherry trees and plum trees. None of these trees grows to great size, with the black cherry being the tallest of this group. However, they all have the ability to bear fruit, which many individuals put to good use in foods such as baked goods and preserves.
The hawthorn trees of the northern states include species such as the frosted hawthorn, which extends into Eastern Canada and grows around the Great Lakes and through most of New England. The black hawthorn exists in the Pacific Northwest, while the downy hawthorn, cockspur hawthorn and scarlet hawthorn are all Eastern species with a northern distribution. Hawthorn trees have toothed leaves and the fruit resembles a small apple, except it possesses a mealy texture. Pick the fruits to make foods such as preserves and jellies.
Crabapple trees, such as the sweet crabapple and Oregon crabapple, grow in many of the northern states. Crabapples have much smaller fruit when compared to commercial apple species. Many crabapple trees may be either a large shrub or a small tree, rarely making it higher than 30 feet in height. They have a spreading crown and some, like the sweet crabapple, have very sharp spikes that develop on the twigs.
The black cherry tree grows throughout most of the East, and this includes every northern state from Maine westward to Minnesota. The black cherry has 6-inch long narrow green leaves and produces half-inch wide cherries that are fleshy. The pin cherry extends across most of the eastern states from New Jersey northward and grows in much of Canada and as far to the west as parts of Montana. It has smaller fruits that have an acidic taste. The astringent taste of chokecherries gives this tree its name, a species that grows in every northern state except Alaska.
Plums, like the American plum, have a geographic range covering two-thirds of the United States, from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Great Plains. This tree is only 20 to 30 feet in height and produces rounded red fruit that tastes tart and is an inch wide. The Canada plum, despite its name, grows mostly in America, around the Great Lakes and into New York State and New England. The flesh of its plums is yellow, surrounded by a red-orange skin.
Apple growers have a large assortment of common apple trees to choose from when planning to grow their own apple trees in northern states. Many of these species are extremely hardy, able to withstand extreme cold as low as minus-50 degrees F according to the Pickyourown.org website. These types include the St. Johnsbury, the Sherry, the September Ruby and the Sunnybrook varieties. Apple types like the Regent are very hardy and produce high-quality fruit that is juicy and tasty, excellent for desserts such as pies. The State Fair apple tree will provide crisp apples perfect for eating fresh. Other types of apple trees that will survive and produce fruit in the northern states include Ginger Gold, Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Empire, Macoun, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Crispin, Northern Spy, the Spencer, the Spartan, the Sunnybrook, and the Richardson types, among others.
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Ohio Tree Index
- "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region;;" Elbert Little; 2008
- "Field Guide to Trees of North America;" C. Frank Brockman; 1986